Watching the injuries pile up against the Dolphins last weekend got me thinking. And thinking got me drinking. And drinking got me complaining, why are we always the most injured team in the league!???
Then I sobered up and despite the jackhammer pounding away at my head I realized my declaration the night before is patently untrue. We aren't the MOST injured team in the league. We can't be. But I wanted to check just how close that was.
Consider there are 32 teams in the league. I will rank the team with the MOST injuries at #1 and the team with the LEAST injuries at #32. This is judged solely on IR designations because it was the easiest thing to track. I'm also only going back 5 years because a) I couldn't find a site that gave me info older than that and b) if you think I'm collecting info by hand you're a good damn fool who under estimates my hangovers and over estimates my work ethic.
The Patriots come in at #9 (the 9th most injured team)
We lose in the AFCCG to the Broncos because we played horribly
The Super Bowl teams were the Broncos #20 and the Hawks #32 (!!!)
The Patriots come in at #10
We win the Bowl because Malcolm went.
The Super Bowl teams were the Pats #10 and the Hawks #7
The Patriots come in at #10
We lose in the AFCCG to the Broncos because of a missed extra point
The Super Bowl teams were the Broncos #21 and the Panthers #26
The Patriots come in at #29 (been saying this was a miracle season forever)
We win the Bowl because the Falcons didn't run the ball
The Super Bowl teams were the Pats #29 and the Falcons #21
So far the Patriots come in at #13
We are currently the 2 seed in the AFC
The top 3 teams in each conference are the Steelers #32 (!!!), the Pats #13, and the Titans #25 in the AFC. Then the Eagles #21, the Vikings #26, and the Rams #30 in the NFC.
In the last 5 years there have been 10 teams in the Super Bowl (just trust me, I have a masters degree)
Only two times has that team been lower than 20 on the most injured team list! And it happened in the same year when the #7 Hawks and the #10 Pats went head to head. We make it to the AFCCG seemingly every year, but we are always doing it through insane adversity. The only exception being last year when we barely got hurt at all, though many would argue losing Gronk should count for multiple bodies.
You can see it in the rankings for the top 6 teams in the league this year too. No one lower than 21 except for us. We are settled in at our typical top 3rd bracket. So frustrating.
The past 4 bowl winners have this ranking: 29, 21, 10, 32. The obvious outlier being us. So no, we aren't technically the most injured team in the league. But we sure as shit get injured a lot, usually more than 60% of the league. Yet somehow we can 'next man up' better than anyone else so we are still there at the end, competing against the healthy teams. If the Lombardi trophy is going to buck the trend again this year and go home with a team who is banged up, we all know there's only one destination it could be. One Patriot Place.
I wish we had Jules, Hightower, Marty, etc but we don't. Every time I get pissed that we can't sign top end free agents because we've wasted our cap space on competent backups, all I have to do is remember these stats. Everyone on the roster is ready to play every Sunday. Especially Super Bowl Sunday. I expect to see us there.